Friday, January 29, 2010

I watched a change in you...

I was going to title this "Sometimes Selling Out Is Waking Up," but it would have flown right over most people's heads.

Over the past three or four years, I've been going through a lot of changes. Apparently, all of that came to a head when I decided to try my first drink a few months ago. Since then, I've been ridiculed and judged by some, while accepted (and in some cases, even congratulated) by others. It seems that every possible reaction has been conveyed to me upon the release of the new information.

I guess it all started a few years ago when I was approaching the end of my several-year tenure of doing shows. I was growing tired of all of the empty accusations, shit-talk, and drama, and was beginning to find out who my real friends were. I didn't know it at the time, but found out later that for the entire time I was doing shows, I was getting thrown under the bus by people who I thought were my friends but apparently, were pretty far from it. It got to the point where hardcore and straight edge didn't mean what they used to. I made the mistake of exposing myself to "the business end" of hardcore, and it wasn't a pretty sight. It has actually almost completely ruined everything I once loved about it. I have to put some of the blame on myself for losing sight of what hardcore actually meant to me over the decade prior, but I'm definitely not responsible for all of it. Anyway, despite the fact that I pretty much ceased attending shows and hanging out with the people that I was friends with for the past 5+ years, I stayed straight edge. I knew that without it, I would have been in a dark place while going through all of the shit that was happening in my life at the time (all of the stuff above, combined with going through a divorce, was a tough pill to swallow).

Fast forward to 2009...I found myself completely not in love with the idea of labeling myself as straight edge (and for all of you "lifestyle" elitists, I didn't give a shit about that anymore, either). I despised it, and talked shit on the idea of it most of the time. So, realizing I was doing a tremendous disservice to those who were still taking it seriously, I decided to give up on it altogether in June of 2009. And, before you get the hankering to run your mouth, I'm hoping that you read everything above and realize that this wasn't a spur-of-the-moment, "my friends drink so I do too" thing. It was a long, drawn-out process. I knew then, and still know now, that without straight edge, I wouldn't be in a successful marriage, have a great job, or own a nice house. So for that, I'm thankful. However, it's just not for me anymore. People who are truly supportive of me will understand that, as I understand (and am sympathetic toward) their changes and other happenings in life.

It wasn't until October that I took my first sip of alcohol (that's exactly what it was - a sip), just to get curiosity out of the way. It was okay - definitely nothing life-changing, but I knew that if I wanted to have a drink, I would do just that. After all, it's all about doing what YOU want to do. Fuck what anybody else thinks. So, after consuming about one total fluid ounce of alcohol from that point until the beginning of December, I went to a bar with my friends, had a few drinks, got a little bit drunk, and DIDN'T drive home. Since then, I've had some drinks every other weekend or so, and haven't really experienced much more than a slight buzz. I had a lot of reservations when I started doing this - I wasn't even sure how or why it happened, but I was worried that it would become an addiction, as my family has a history of that. However, I've found myself to be quite responsible, and it has bloomed into nothing but a social activity that happens every so often (though, I'm still in a bit of an awkward stage and have been told that I look like a teenage girl when I drink).

So, you may be asking "What's next, heavy binge drinking, weed-smoking, cocaine, and meth?" Well, no. I try not to be an idiot, though shit does indeed happen. But, I guess it all boils down to this: regardless of what I do, it is truly my decision, and while I'll respect other people's opinion on the matter, it won't change who I am or who I'll become (even if I wanted it to). I trust myself enough to know that I'll make only the best decisions, and those close to me do as well (that's what I'm told, at least). I'm still the same old lovable, fun-loving, easy going Bryan, though. I hope that's the one that people became enamored with, not the "tough-guy, full-of-hate, fuck-you-I'm-edge" Bryan who died years ago (and probably wasn't even real in the first place).

Monday, January 25, 2010

VINYL NERD ALERT: Poison The Well - The Tropic Rot

So, I received this beauty in the mail today. I pre-ordered it like a month ago, and I thought it was supposed to come at the end of last week, but instead I was left hanging until today. It was definitely worth the wait, though. The album's packaging is of the gatefold variety, as it is a double LP. I'm not sure how limited the pressing I bought is, but it's good looking regardless, as both records are white and black-colored. The vinyl version also includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks ("D10 D11" and "Deportation Spreads") that were not on the CD or digital versions. And, as is usually the case with unreleased tracks, they are two of the better songs on the entire recording. Anyway, I've included a link to download the album below (with the two bonus tracks included). Enjoy...I know I will! Oh, and I don't really need to review this album. It was my number one album of 2009, and I posted a somewhat in-depth review in a Facebook note. Go find that if you want details, or just trust me when I tell you that "The Tropic Rot" is terrific.

Rating: 9/10
Recommended if you like: Cursed, Deftones, Cave In
Favorite Track: "Pamplemousse"


Friday, January 22, 2010

Check Out This Album: Sleigh Bells - EP

My good buddy Davyn introduced me to this band a couple of months back, and I didn't really give them the time of day until now. I was searching through songs to put on a playlist and I randomly picked "Crown on the Ground" by Sleigh Bells and was hooked. I'm not really a fan of Electropop, and I definitely hate The Sounds, but this band has elements of both, and I love them for some reason. They have this purposely blown-out type of sound, and it just works. Maybe I only like them because they only have two members - one is Derek Miller, formerly of Poison The Well, and the other is some good looking babe named Alexis. Anyway, they've said they never plan on making their demo available for sale, so I'll just post the download link here. Every song on it is really good except for the tracks A/B Machines and 2HELLWU, which are kind of clownshoes if you ask me. Good stuff, though, overall. Thank me later, and go thank them now for making good music.

Rating: 7/10
Recommended if you like: The Sounds, Santogold, Yeah Yeah Yeahs!
Favorite Track: "Crown on the Ground"


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Last Name Ever, First Name Greatest

I just wanted to let you all know that the playlist I posted yesterday was a HIT! Everybody I talked to at work loved it - even people with no vested interest in what was going on. Like, for example, the 40-ish year old packing temp who told me that she was pleased with it because there was a wide array of music. Plus, my boss gave me props for it so that's always good. And as an added bonus, I never had to hear that god-awful Bear vs. Shark song because it never came on when I was in the room.

Anyway, I've been arguing with a lot of people lately about NFL's Pro Bowl and how it has been moved to the week before the Super Bowl, as opposed to the week after - where it has been since its inception. Their main gripe with it is that the players who were voted to the All-Pro teams who play for one of the Super Bowl teams won't participate in the game. While I see that as a valid point, it doesn't diminish the quality of the game. Instead, what diminishes the quality of the game is when you play it a week after the Super Bowl, when nobody gives a shit about football anymore except for that 350-pound guy with the West Valley beard wearing one of those leather jackets with every team's logo sewn on it. Not to mention, the game was played in Hawaii every year in a half-full stadium on fucking artificial turf. All of that, combined with the fact that only about 8 people watched it, made for some unmotivated football and as a result, the Pro Bowl was a bigger snooze fest than a Raiders-Chiefs game in December.

Now, with the game being played a week before the Super Bowl, and at the same site as the Super Bowl, I guarantee you the place will be packed and the ratings will sky rocket - even if Peyton Manning and Brett Favre aren't there pretending to have fun and play hard. Look, the Super Bowl has always needed more big time football-related festivities surrounding it, so I'm all for this, and I'm sure the majority of the NFL's fan base will be as well.

That's all for now. I'm supposed to get the vinyl that I've been waiting for so patiently for a month now. If/when I do, I'll post a picture and review of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

80's Billy Joel Doo-wop Sucks!

So, we're having a party/BBQ-type deal at work tomorrow, and my boss asked Mayra (one of my co-workers) and I to create a music playlist. The reason for that is because apparently we were the only ones that complained about the music selection for the last work function (which, I shit you not, consisted ENTIRELY of sad mexican songs). In case you're saying to yourself, "oh fuck that Bryan's just a big racist pile of shit," Mayra herself is latina and still thought the tunes were obnoxious.

So, here is our version of an Easton Party Playlist (which does include some Spanish songs, in case you still think I'm a bigot). My selections have an asterisk next to them; the rest are Mayra's or other people's (like Jacques, who thankfully suggested Katy Perry and MGMT):

Crime in Stereo - Animal Pharm*
Bear vs. Shark - Buses/No Buses
Britney Spears - 3
The Movielife - Walking on Glass
Foo Fighters - Everlong
El Desprecio - Aventura
Elvis Crespo - Pintame
Michael Jackson - You Rock My World
La Quinta Estacion - El Sol No Regresa
Santana - Oye Como Va
Celia Cruz - Azucar Negra
Kenny Chesney - Young
Jimmy Eat World - Pain*
Kanye West - RoboCop*
Kid Cudi - Day n Nite*
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get*
Muse - Uprising
Open Hand - Tough Girl*
Poison The Well - Riverside*
Sleigh Bells - Crown on the Ground
Tegan and Sara - Walking With a Ghost*
Drake (ft. Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Eminem) - Forever*
DJ Felli Fel (ft. Ludacris, Diddy, Lil Jon, and Akon) - Get Buck in Here*
Maino (ft. T-Pain) - All the Above*
Katy Perry - Hot n Cold
MGMT - Kids

Sure, some of these songs are fucking terrible (who the hell suggested Bear vs. Shark?), but I bet girls are going to be getting their grind on left and right to this mix. Either that, or I'll get fired because it sucks so bad. We'll see...wish me luck!

Album Review: I Am The Ocean - Escapist Fiction

So look, I know these guys are my friends so you may think my opinion is slightly biased, but you'll no longer pin such heinous accusations on me when you see my next sentence.

Taylor, Eric, Jeremy, Dreu, Kellen, and everybody else that has or had something to do with this band - this is not a personal attack. I love you guys. With that being said, I did not like I Am The Ocean's first effort, "And Your City Needs Swallowing." It was honestly kind of a snooze fest. Make no mistake about it - these guys are talented musicians who know how to write in-depth songs and play their instruments very well. However, the boredom that consumed me while listening to that album made me probably rate it a 4/10. However, all of the negative things I said above DO NOT apply to IATO's newest album, "Escapist Fiction." From the very first track, "Yours," I could already tell that this wasn't going to be the same sleep-inducing 54 minutes that their first album tended to be. Instead it was heavy, intense, well-written, vocally competent, and just plain good. That certainly did not stop with "Let Awe In," which completely epitomizes how this band has progressed into a force to be reckoned with. On the track "Grace," Dreu does some terrific things with his vocal melodies - at times leaving the band sounding a touch like ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Our Dead and The Juliana Theory - the latter of which continues through a good portion of the album. On the tracks "Stealing from Clifton" and "Icy," the instrument players sound about as cohesive as you can possibly sound - which is something this band has never had much of a problem with - while never compromising technicality or heaviness.

All in all, this is a terrific record which unfortunately probably won't be heard by as many people as it deserves to be. Good job, dudes - you deserve everything good that comes your way as a result of this effort.

Rating: 9/10
Recommended if you like: Glassjaw, The Juliana Theory, Thrice
Favorite Track: "Let Awe In"

DL - I would put up a download link, but they're my friends so you should support them by buying their record. So, I linked to the album's iTunes store page instead. Get over it.


Welcome to my website. Or blog, as all of the kids say these days. I was hoping I'd be able to have Angelfire or Geocities host this page, but what can you do, right?

Anyway, the purpose of this initial post is to introduce myself. I'm Bryan (better known as The Old Grizzly Bear, The Big Guy, or BFKP), a happily married 26-year-old dude living in Utah. I like it here for the most part, but my heart lies in places such as Denver, CO and San Diego, CA. One day, I'd like to leave everything behind (with the exception of my wife and dog, of course) and escape to one of those places.

Um, what else...oh, I love music. Though I'm not actively involved with the "hardcore community" anymore (I'll get into that later), I still have a passion for the music, message, and meaning of the hardcore 'genre' (although all of the bullshit that comes along with it has been exploited over the years). I also love collecting vinyl; I used to be into it in the latter part of the 90's/early part of the 00's, but found myself unable to afford it. However, now that I make a decent living for myself, I can afford to buy a record or ten every once in a while.

It sounds cliche, but my friends and family mean the world to me. A lot of things have gone wrong with my family in the past, but no matter what, I'm always going to be around to help them, and I hope the same goes vice-versa. I also married into a new family, and they are wonderful, loving, and caring people. I couldn't have hand-picked a better bunch of in-laws. A lot of my closest friends have been going through changes lately (myself included - again, more on that later), and it has put some strain on our relationships with each other, but I strongly believe that friendship will prevail in the end. Or, at least I hope so.

Last but not least, sports...while I've always been a huge sports fan, I found myself clinging to them even more when my life hit a downward spiral about five years ago. Ever since, my passion for them has surpassed what it ever was before - even in the MLB/NBA glory days of the mid-90's. I am completely and utterly (and disgustingly, for that matter) in love with University of Utah football and basketball, as well as the Colorado Rockies baseball club. I'm in the process of erecting a man cave in the basement of my home to show my love for the three squads. God, I'm a fucking loser.

So, that's that for now. Check in regularly, as I'll be updating this quite frequently with sports/life thoughts, album reviews, vinyl scores, and all sorts of other shit. Until then, take 'er easy.